5 charged in Houston human smuggling operation

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2014 4:34 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — Five men, at least two of them from Mexico, have been ordered held pending a bail hearing later this week on charges they used guns and threats to hold 115 people hostage in a small Houston house unless their captives paid ransom to continue their illegal entry into the United States.

A federal criminal complaint says the people, discovered last week crammed into the stash house, were stripped of their shoes and most of their clothing to keep them from escaping and also were threatened with violence.

The five men stood handcuffed and shackled during a brief appearance Tuesday afternoon before a federal magistrate judge in Houston. One wore shorts. The others were in jeans. All listened on headphones as the proceedings were translated into Spanish.